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Facebook users will soon have more control over their personal info

Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg
Ben Edelman Ben Edelman
David Kirkpatrick David Kirkpatrick

By Mark Barger

BOSTON (NBC) - Facebook is making security changes. With nearly 500 million members, the website has made it easy for people to share information online with friends and family, but the company is pulling in the reins when it comes to sharing that personal information with anyone else.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Wednesday that his company had made the social website's privacy controls too complicated.

As a result, users discovered they were unwittingly sharing personal information with third parties, including advertisers.

"It's like giving away your Social Security Number," notes Harvard Business School's Ben Edelman. "Once someone has this code, they can look up everything else Facebook knows about you."

With privacy groups, regulators and some users voicing concerns, Zuckerberg says privacy controls will be simplified. That includes opting out of a personalization feature that tailors other websites to a Facebook user's profile.

David Kirkpatrick, author of the book, "The Facebook Effect", says Zuckerberg had to make the move.

"I don't think the members, on balance were have been that upset about it," he says. "On the other hand, he's got to control the perception and the perception has been getting out of control."

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, is confident the moves will bolster his website.

"Our focus is all on building a great product," he said as part of the announcement.

He added that the changes Facebook is instituting will apply retroactively, as well as going forward with new services the website has yet to launch.

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